Our school year is over. We have always dual enrolled our kids for at least art in the public elementary schools. After the most frustrating year out of eight years, I now publish a list of things that my kids’ teachers need to do. Doing these things will make your role as an EDUCATOR who CARES ABOUT CHILDREN very clear to me. If you do not do these things, I will know that in your heart, you do not care about children. Because if you did care, you would not make them suffer by ignoring the following things.
1. KNOW THE LAW. To make it easy on you, here is an excerpt from the CPI Handbook:
“A child under dual enrollment may participate in academic programs or extracurricular activities on the same basis as any regularly enrolled student. A child under dual enrollment is also eligible to receive AEA services on the same basis as a regularly enrolled child. Iowa Code section 299A.8; 281-IAC 31.5.”
2. Call me as soon as possible with schedule changes. My kids have been let down since 1999, expecting to have a fun class, only to find that they missed it. If you care about all children, call me. I always personally hand, or instruct my child to hand, my business card to you for your reference by the end of that first couple weeks. The card includes my child’s homeroom assignment, class schedule, my phone number, and my email address. Don’t lose it. Use the info on it.
3. Respect my child in actions and words. I have trouble emphasizing your authority to my child if you can’t respect him or her.
4. Call me as soon as you can about behavior problems. I want to role play the situation at home, help the child come up with appropriate solutions, and reinforce later. Don’t let situations just slide by until they escalate and you feel that you want to call the principal. Call me first.
5. Allow me to meet you in that first week of classes.
6. Allow my child to walk to your room with me that first week or two if the homeroom class will not be in a location near the dual enrollment class.
7. Create a safe space or meeting space for entering the building as well as for exiting and waiting for a ride home. Also have a safe place for waiting and joining the homeroom class before the dual enrollment course (p.e., art, etc.) begins. To me, this means that adult staff can see my kid waiting for me and leaving with me.
8. Principals, secretaries, and media center staff, please have procedures in dealing with my kids as soon as you know that they will be in your building. If they don’t happen to match your software situation since you don’t get full funding for them, then do something else to give them equal access like the law calls for. They need respect. They are people, no matter how much time they spend in your building. They need access codes, PIN’s, etc. in order to be successful. I expect you to want their time in your building to be positive. Don’t treat them like they don’t count.
9. This goes for Learning Resource Center staff as well. Full-time kids have access to cheap photocopies and crafting items; my kids should have that option on the same basis. I just photocopy things that are different. I use the book binder for something that twenty other kids didn’t make. Only one child made a book, and it’s school-related. I labor over asking for things like copies for my kids — “Is this reasonable? Do other full-time kids have this?” I don’t go in and ask for “no extra charge” because I think I can get away with it. I do it because I think it’s right and in line with the law. I pay the extra fee when I come for VBS, softball, etc.
10. Your grade reports need to come to me in a timely fashion. I would also appreciate having the children’s artwork and any paperwork returned for the same reason. Regularly enrolled kids and their parents have enough of your respect to get their things back, so we ought to be treated on the same basis.